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Sports

April 9, 2013

Pitino leads class of 7 into Naismith Hall of Fame

ATLANTA — Rick Pitino got the phone call of a lifetime and an incredible text at the same time.

Last Wednesday, John Doleva, the president of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, called seven people to tell them they’d be in the class of 2013.

Pitino was one of the seven.

“When I got the call I was trying to call my wife over so she could hear it and I’m trying to put it on speaker phone and a text keeps beeping as I’m getting this special call,” Pitino said yesterday, just hours before he led Louisville against Michigan in the national championship game. “I saw the text. ‘Go Gophers. I got the job.’”

It was his son, Richard, who had just found out he was chosen to be the head coach at Minnesota.

It’s been that kind of week for Pitino, who is among 12 people overall who will join the class of 2013.

The others announced yesterday at a ceremony at the Final Four were college coaches Guy Lewis of Houston, Jerry Tarkanian of UNLV and Sylvia Hatchell of North Carolina, former NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton and former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley.

The inductions will take place in Springfield, Mass., on Sept. 8.

Inductees announced previously were: Edwin E.B. Henderson, a direct elect by the Early African Pioneer Committee; longtime Indiana Pacers guard Roger Brown; Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, the leading scorer in Olympic history; Richie Guerin, a star for the New York Knicks in the 1950s; and Russ Granik, the longtime assistant commissioner of the NBA.

It was Pitino, however, who stole the show.

His Cardinals are in the championship game and a win would make him the first coach to win a title at two schools. He won it all with Kentucky in 1996.

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